You Probably Need a License to Drive a Boat at Lake of the Ozarks. We've Got All the Details

on 14 Mar 2019


There's no feeling like sitting at the helm of a boat and going full throttle across the Lake of the Ozarks. In Missouri, you may have to do some work before getting out on the water- pass a Boater Safety Course. Once you've passed, don't get caught without carrying your Missouri Boating Safety Certificate either. Keep reading for the requirements and answers to some common questions about the Boater Education Law.

Driving a boat may seem simple enough, but it's important to understand the laws and best practices for operating a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks. When one action can affect everyone in your boat or another boat in the water, it's worth it to know the rules. Accidents happen every summer. Abiding by the laws ensures that your weekend stays a great memory for you and your friends or family.

The Missouri Highway Patrol, Water Patrol Division is the agency in charge of issuing these IDs. There are several ways to take the Boating Safety Education Course before getting your Boater Certification Card. You're sure to find a way to fit it into your schedule before hitting the waves.

Do I Need A Missouri Boating License at Lake of the Ozarks?

Everyone born after January 1, 1984 is required to have their Boater Safety License before driving a boat, waverunner, or any personal watercraft (PWC) on any Missouri lake, including Lake of the Ozarks. If you're visiting from another state, your home Safety License is valid in Missouri if the course you took is NASBLA approved. However, a person from any state may take the course and earn their MO Boating License.

Additionally, state law requires that you take or retake the boater education course if you're found guilty of several boater-related crimes. Operating a boat negligently or under the influence of alcohol are a few examples of offenses that require you to pass the boater safety course.

Where Can I Take an Online Boater Safety Course?

The Boat Ed Online Course is approved by the Missouri Highway Patrol. The course takes a few hours. It's packed with entertaining videos that you can view on any device, even your phone! Your progress is saved so you can study in your free time and come back to it the next day. The total cost for the course and Highway Patrol fee is $41.50.

After passing the online boater education course test, you can print out a Temporary Boating Safety Certification Card to use right away. If you didn't think months ahead, this temporary card is great to have. You can take your test and drive a boat in the same day! If you're looking forward to holding the real thing in your hand, your permanent Missouri Boating Safety Certification Card will be sent to the address you specify within 45 days.

The Boater Ed site also has a complete online study guide you can view before you register. It's a good way to see how much time it will take you to make it through the material. Once you've decided to go for it, just register and your "class" will begin.

You can also purchase an e-book of the Missouri Boating Laws, or download a free PDF on the Boater Ed site. Here is a completely free web-based version and a printable PDF, which are mostly text with minimal photos and illustrations.

Where Can I Take an In-Person Boater Education Course?

If you learn better in person, or want to avoid the fee for the online course, you're welcome to take the course in person. Visit the Missouri Highway Patrol website to see all of the scheduled classes near you and register. The class, taught by a marine trooper, is free, but it does cost $15 to order your Boater Identification Card.

Can Our Whole Family Get Boater Safety Certified?

Yes! Call 1-800-830-2268 to order a video to watch as a family, then each of you can take a mail-in test. What a great way to get the whole family certified and ready for summer fun.

Is a Temporary Boater ID Card Available?

Missouri Water Patrol does offer the option of a temporary boater certification to businesses that sell or rent watercraft. If you're just at the Lake of the Ozarks for the weekend and want to rent a boat, check with your boat rental company, as they may offer this as a service to their customers.

What if I Don't Want To Take the Boater Education Course?

If you don't have time or patience to take the course, there's another option. Hire a captain to drive your boat. You'll be in the hands of a trusted navigator and you can even have a few drinks without worrying about who will get you back home. We've got a whole list of options so you can sit back and relax.

Can I Order a Replacement Card?

If it's been awhile since you've taken your the boater safety course, or you've just lost or damaged your card, not to worry. The Missouri Highway Patrol offers a quick way to reorder your Boater Certification Card on their website. You just need to enter your name and birthdate to lookup your card information. Then add your credit card info, pay the $15, plus a $1.25 fee, and it will be sent to you.

What is the Minimum Age Allowed to Get A Boating License?

The minimum age to operate a boat or wave runner alone is 14. Anyone younger must be directly supervised by someone 16 or older. It doesn't matter what age you are or if you're being supervised or not- you're required to have the Boating Certification if you are operating a boat or PWC.

Is It Required to Have a Driver's License to Get My Boating License?

Nope. Earn your Boating License regardless of your status as a driver.

Hopefully, we've provided everything you need to know about getting a Missouri Boating License and taking the Boater's Education Course. We'll see you on the lake!